Last year in Albuquerque we had some of the coldest temperatures in 30 years. For a week it seemed like every plumber in New Mexico was fixing frozen pipes. There were also wide spread gas outages due to the extreme spike in demand around this time. It is possible we will face the same extreme drop in temperature this year and there are a few things that you can do as a home owner to help avoid pipes and fixtures freezing this winter.
Disconnect Your Garden Hoses.
It’s easy to forget to disconnect the garden hose but, if left attached the water held in the hose freezes quickly. Not only can ruin your hose but it can freeze all the way back to the faucet and split the metal.
This is a problem especially for frost free hose bibs which are very common in Rio Rancho. The water to a frost free hose bib terminates back inside the wall at least 4” so there is no water exposed to the outside elements. They work great when the bib is allowed to drain properly. If there is a hose attached, the water has nowhere to go and they usually end up freezing and spitting inside the wall. This is not a problem until the spring time. The leak is discovered when the home owner turns on their faucet and water leaks inside the wall and into the house.
Winterize your house if leaving for more than a day.
If you are planning on taking a road trip for more than a day remember these tips. Keep the temperature inside the house above freezing. You can do this by leaving your furnace on at the minimum temperature while you are gone. Many pipes run inside the walls and they count on the heat inside the house to keep them thawed.
If you are leaving for an extended period and it is not economical to keep your furnace running for that long then you should turn the water off at the street. If anything does freeze and break you will at least avoid coming home to a flooded house.
Cover outside hose bibs.
Cover your outside hose bibs with a foam hose-bib cover. If they are not frost free hose bibs then a foam cover really helps to keep the wind off them and prevents freezing.